The government of the state of North Rhine Westfalia, Germany, is demanding that Nokia return the 41 million euros in public subsidies it received to finance a factory it now plans to close. The announcement was made by the authorities of the city where the factory is located.
According to the news agency DPA, since the installation of the factory in 1987 until 2006, the state of North Rhine Westfalia channeled several subsidies to the Nokia factory, which was committed to employ 2,860 thousand employees, something that, according to local press, it was never confirmed.
Now the German state wants the aid granted to the mobile phone manufacturer between 1998 and 1999 to be returned.
In turn, Nokia is «surprised» by the request and prefers not to value the question posed by the German State, because it believes it has acted correctly. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the company’s CEO, apologized for the plant’s closure and stressed that this was a necessary measure since the structure makes up only 6 percent of Nokia’s mobile phones, but represents 23 percent of the company’s production costs.
In mid-January, Nokia caused some inconvenience to the German authorities when it announced that it would close the Bochum plant by migrating production to Romania and Hungary. At the time, the manufacturer indicated that this was a strategy for cost containment, which did not convince the government of the region.
Jürgen Rüttgers, president of that region, even called Nokia’s attitude «inconceivable» after it «received 60 million euros of regional subsidies», to which «28 million from the federal authorities» added, and then «when the deadline expires» cool, say thanks, let’s go. «
Kurt BeckBeck, president of the Social Democratic Party, raised the challenge to the entire region, through the boycott of Nokia, asking citizens to stop buying branded equipment or to stop using the ones they already had.
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